Juliane Hammer: Peaceful Families

Juliane Hammer: Peaceful Families

Book Cover of Peaceful Families by Juliane HammerThe latest book by Juliane Hammer, Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, takes an in-depth look at how American Muslims address domestic violence within their communities. From the Princeton University Press website:

“Looking at connections among ethical practices, gender norms, and religious interpretation, Hammer demonstrates how Muslim advocates mobilize a rich religious tradition in community efforts against domestic violence, and identify religion and culture as resources or roadblocks to prevent harm and to restore family peace.”

“Drawing on her interviews with Muslim advocates, service providers, and religious leaders, Hammer paints a vivid picture of the challenges such advocacy work encounters. The insecurities of American Muslim communities facing intolerance and Islamophobia lead to additional challenges in acknowledging and confronting problems of spousal abuse, and Hammer reveals how Muslim anti–domestic violence workers combine the methods of the mainstream secular anti–domestic violence movement with Muslim perspectives and interpretations.”

Posted in Faculty Publications on September 5, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Jessica Boon: The End of the World in Medieval Thought and Spirituality

Jessica Boon: The End of the World in Medieval Thought and Spirituality

ErnstAssociate Professor, Jessica Boon, along with Eric Knibbs and Erica Gelser, have co-edited a collection of essays titled The End of the World in Medieval Thought and Spirituality (Springer, 2019) in honor of the retirement of E. Ann Matter, now Professor Emerita at the University of Pennsylvania. From the Springer website:

“This essay collection studies the Apocalypse and the end of the world, as these themes occupied the minds of biblical scholars, theologians, and ordinary people in Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and Early Modernity. It opens with an innovative series of studies on “Gendering the Apocalypse,” devoted to the texts and contexts of the apocalyptic through the lens of gender. A second section of essays studies the more traditional problem of “Apocalyptic Theory and Exegesis,” with a focus on authors such as Augustine of Hippo and Joachim of Fiore. A final series of essays extends the thematic scope to “The Eschaton in Political, Liturgical, and Literary Contexts.” In these essays, scholars of history, theology, and literature create a dialogue that considers how fear of the end of the world, among the most pervasive emotions in human experience, underlies a great part of Western cultural production.”

Congratulations, Jessica!

Posted in Faculty Publications, News & Events on June 10, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Jodi Magness: Masada

Jodi Magness: Masada

MagnessThe latest book by Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, is a new account of the famous site and story of the last stand of a group of Jewish rebels who held out against the Roman Empire titled Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth (Princeton University Press, 2019). From the Princeton University Press website:

“Two thousand years ago, 967 Jewish men, women, and children—the last holdouts of the revolt against Rome following the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple—reportedly took their own lives rather than surrender to the Roman army. This dramatic event, which took place on top of Masada, a barren and windswept mountain overlooking the Dead Sea, spawned a powerful story of Jewish resistance that came to symbolize the embattled modern State of Israel. The first extensive archaeological excavations of Masada began in the 1960s, and today the site draws visitors from around the world. And yet, because the mass suicide was recorded by only one ancient author—the Jewish historian Josephus—some scholars question if the event ever took place.

“Jodi Magness, an archaeologist who has excavated at Masada, explains what happened there, how we know it, and how recent developments might change understandings of the story. Incorporating the latest findings, she integrates literary and historical sources to show what life was like for Jews under Roman rule during an era that witnessed the reign of Herod and Jesus’s ministry and death. Featuring numerous illustrations, this is an engaging exploration of an ancient story that continues to grip the imagination today.”

Congratulations, Jodi!

Posted in Faculty Publications on May 28, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Immanent Frame Forum on Divine Motherhood by Prof. Juliane Hammer

Immanent Frame Forum on Divine Motherhood by Prof. Juliane Hammer

presentationFollowing on last year’s Immanent Frame forum on divine fatherhood, Prof. Juliane Hammer, along with Prof. Vincent Lloyd of Villanova University, have co-curated a new online forum on divine motherhood that will be published over the coming weeks. From the introduction to the new forum:

What if God is not Father but Mother, or both? What if God is not even a parental figure at all?… Rather than posing a straightforward answer to Mary Daly’s implicit question of what lies beyond God the Father, perhaps the most generative way of engaging with divine motherhood is to ask how it might invite us to fundamentally alter what we mean by motherhood and what we mean by divinity.

For the main page of the forum, see here, where newly published pieces will appear in the weeks ahead.

You can also read the Introduction to the forum and the first contribution, “Must a female God mother?”, by Rebecca Todd Peters.

Posted in Faculty News, Faculty Publications on May 10, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Professor Boon Wins 2019 SMFS Prize for Best Article

Professor Boon Wins 2019 SMFS Prize for Best Article

Dr. Jessica Boon, Associate Professor in Religious Studies, has won the 2019 Prize for Best Article of Feminist Scholarship on the Middle Ages from the Society for Feminist Medieval Scholarship. This prize is awarded every two years (in odd numbered years) and was “established in 2004 as a way for the Society for Feminist Medieval Scholarship to recognize outstanding scholarly contributions.” The prize includes a monetary award and will be officially presented at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in May.

Professor Boon’s winning article, titled “At the Limits of (Trans)Gender: Jesus, Mary, and the Angels in the Visionary Sermons of Juana de la Cruz (1481–1534),” was published in the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies in 2018 and explores the visionary sermons of Juana de la Cruz through the more precise analytical categories derived from contemporary approaches to gender. To read the article, click here.

Congratulations, Jes!

Posted in Faculty News, Faculty Publications on February 19, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Lauren Leve Wins James Fisher Prize

Lauren Leve Wins James Fisher Prize

The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS) has announced that Lauren Leve, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Graduate Studies, has won the first James Fisher Prize for First Books on the Himalayan Region for her book The Buddhist Art of Living in Nepal: Ethical Practice and Religious Reform (Routledge, 2016). 

In honor of the scholarly contributions of Dr. James Fisher to scholarship in the region, the Fisher Prize honors books which contribute an innovative and lucid written account of Himalayan studies research. Professor Leve shares the prize with Sarah Shneiderman, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.

Professor Leve’s book chronicles how Theravada Buddhism has grown to have a significant presence in Nepal, especially among Newar communities of Kathmandu. The ANHS announcement includes the following statement: “Besides being a pleasure to read, the book’s significance lies in its ethnographic treatment of families adopting religious tenets which help them adjust to the contemporary changes of late modernity and neoliberal globalization.”

For the full prize announcement, see here.

Congratulations, Lauren!

Posted in Faculty News, Faculty Publications on April 4, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

Bart Ehrman on “Faith in Our Lives: Why We Follow” and “The Triumph of Christianity”

Bart Ehrman on “Faith in Our Lives: Why We Follow” and “The Triumph of Christianity”

On March 10, PlayMakers Repertory Company hosted a symposium, “Faith in Our Lives: Why We Follow,” with UNC’s Bart D. Ehrman, James A. Gray Distinguished Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, and Robert M. Franklin, Jr., James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. Prof. Ehrman and Prof. Franklin discussed how faith and belief serve us both personally and collectively, as well as what may be at risk when doctrine plays too little or too large a role in our lives. The symposium was moderated by Adam Versényi, Chair of UNC’s Department of Dramatic Art and Dramaturg for PlayMakers Repertory Company.

Prof. Ehrman also appeared recently on WUNC’s The State of Things episode “The Sunday School Teacher Turned Skeptic,” hosted by Frank Stasio. Among other topics, Prof. Ehrman discussed his recently published book The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World,” which tells the story of how Christianity grew from the religion of a few peasants in the Roman Empire to become the most powerful cultural force in the West.

Congratulations, Bart!


Posted in Faculty Publications, Faculty Pubs & Profiles, Faculty Spotlight on March 14, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

Carl Ernst: It’s Not Just Academic!

Carl Ernst: It’s Not Just Academic!

ErnstThe latest book by Carl Ernst, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, is a volume of his essays titled It’s Not Just Academic! Essays on Sufism and Islamic Studies (Sage, 2017). From the Sage Publishing website:

“This collection of articles by Carl W. Ernst summarizes over 30 years of research, recovering and illuminating remarkable examples of Islamic culture that have been largely overlooked, if not forgotten. It opens with reflections on teaching Islam, focusing on major themes such as Sufism, the Qur’an, the Prophet Muhammad, and Arabic literature. The importance of public scholarship and the questionable opposition between Islam and the West are also addressed. The articles that follow explore multiple facets of Sufism, the ethical and spiritual tradition that has flourished in Muslim societies for over a thousand years. The cumulative effect is to move away from static Orientalist depictions of Sufism and Islam through a series of vivid and creative case studies.”

Congratulations, Carl!

Posted in Faculty Publications on January 7, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

Brendan Thornton Wins Barbara Christian Prize

Brendan Thornton Wins Barbara Christian Prize

Professor Brendan Thornton’s book, Negotiating Respect: Pentecostalism, Masculinity, and the Politics of Spiritual Authority in the Dominican Republic (University Press of Florida, 2016), has won the 2017 Barbara Christian Prize for Best Book in the Humanities from the Caribbean Studies Association. From the comments of one of the judges on the prize committee:

“I cannot assert strongly enough the groundbreaking moves made in Negotiating Respect. Thornton challenges our now settled critical orthodoxies as what counts as radical and subversive scholarship by taking seriously the diverse practices of Caribbean Christianity…. The stakes for the field of Caribbean studies are high. Thornton asks us to complicate our reading of quotidian religious practices: so, that we might see that ‘the church has become more norm than exception, more local than foreign, more orthodox than heterodox, more accepted than disdained.’”

For more on the prize, click here.

Congratulations, Brendan!

Posted in Faculty News, Faculty Publications on July 19, 2017. Bookmark the permalink.

Randall Styers: Magic in the Modern World

Randall Styers: Magic in the Modern World

styersThe latest book by Randall Styers, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, is a volume of collected essays (co-edited with Edward Bever of SUNY Old Westbury) titled Magic in the Modern World: Strategies of Repression and Legitimization (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017). In addition to co-editing the entire volume, Prof. Styers contributes an essay to the collection on “Bad Habits, or, How Superstition Disappeared in the Modern World.” From the Penn State University Press website:

“This collection of essays considers the place of magic in the modern world, first by exploring the ways in which modernity has been defined in explicit opposition to magic and superstition, and then by illuminating how modern proponents of magic have worked to legitimize their practices through an overt embrace of evolving forms such as esotericism and supernaturalism.

“Taking a two-track approach, this book explores the complex dynamics of the construction of the modern self and its relation to the modern preoccupation with magic. Essays examine how modern ‘rational’ consciousness is generated and maintained and how proponents of both magical and scientific traditions rationalize evidence to fit accepted orthodoxy. This book also describes how people unsatisfied with the norms of modern subjectivity embrace various forms of magic—and the methods these modern practitioners use to legitimate magic in the modern world.”

The volume also includes a contribution by one of our PhD alumni, Megan Goodwin, titled “Manning the High Seat: Seidr as Self-Making in Contemporary Norse Neopaganisms.”

Congratulations, Randall!

Posted in Alumni News, Faculty Publications on June 16, 2017. Bookmark the permalink.